Book Review: Royal Assassin

Title: Royal Assassin (Book 2 of the Farseer Trilogy)
Author: Robin Hobb
Publisher: Bantam Spectra

Royal Assassin continues Fitz’ story after the disastrous events of the first book.   Fitz, nearly crippled by the attacks at the end of his first job as an assassin, promises himself that he’ll never return home nor serve his king.  But confusing visions and outside forces bring Fitz to return home to a kingdom quickly falling apart, torn from within. 

Unfortunately, Fitz once again has an incredibly tough time when he returns.  He’s still hated by most nobility for being The Bastard, but with a new Queen-in-Waiting around the keep, Fitz finds himself stretched too thin with everything he’s tasked.  To add on top of that, the Red-Ship Raiders continue to march towards Buckkeep and the King, destroying nearly everything in their way.

I enjoyed this second book more than the first mostly because there are so many different things pulling Fitz in so many different directions.  A number of years pass throughout the book, changing him from a small, powerless boy to a young man capable of defending himself.  Along with physical strength, his understanding (along with a better explanation of) the series’ two magical systems, the Skill and the Wit, grow.

Fitz works with King-in-Waiting Verity to work on his abilities with the Skill, but he befriends and bonds (using the Wit) to a wolf named Nighteyes.  As Fitz was warned in the first book, he struggles with the blurring line between man and wolf.  It’s interesting to learn more about the Wit as Fitz figures out not only exactly what it is, but also how he struggles with an incredibly appealing life that the wolf can offer him.

I was also pleasantly surprised how interesting the political drama was in Royal Assassin.  So many different factions are vying for control when faced with a dying king, but Hobb manages to keep them all clear and keep everyone interesting.  I’m typically not terribly interested in political struggles, but I had trouble putting this book down when the politics started to get exciting.

As Fitz becomes more powerful and more influential I find myself enjoying these books more.  My criticism of the first book still stands, as Hobb doesn’t give her characters too many fantastic opportunities.  The complicated relationship between Fitz and Molly is especially tough, but never seems as unfair as some events in the first book.

There are so many complicated events in this book that I’m hard-pressed to attempt to explain them all.  I can, however, recommend this book as much as I recommended the first book.  I sincerely hope that the final book in this trilogy is at least as good as the first two.


About Michael Hannon
Podcaster, blogger, writer, geek. Host of That Video Game Podcast (TVGP) and Dynamic Soundtrack. A big fan of stuff.

One Response to Book Review: Royal Assassin

  1. Redhead says:

    This was my favorite book in the trilogy, i thought it had a wonderful balance of character development, intrigue, danger, mystery, bad guys, all that good stuff. if you’ve waiting for “fantastic opportunities”, don’t worry, they show up in buckets in book 3.

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